An Eerie and Menacing Black Metal Triumph Unleashed – Immortal’s Latest Album “War Against All” Review Revealing Their Unyielding Power and Sinister Majesty
Black Metal is the darkest, most perverse, and wicked branch of Extreme Metal. That’s why the Scandinavian European countries contribute the most bands and live in that eerie atmosphere. In this context, we come across the tenth production of the Norwegian group IMMORTAL, titled “War Against All.” Throughout more than three decades of existence, they have maintained their ominous style without deviation.
Formed in 1991, they adopted Black Metal as their banner from the beginning. Laden with rawness and atrocities, with a certain gothic style that distinguished them among their followers and caused fascination, all these years have passed. It has been five years since their last album, “War Against All,” which is filled with whirlwinds, misfortunes, and exterminations turned into songs. In this album, Mr. DEMONAZ takes care of the vocals and guitars. He stopped playing guitar in IMMORTAL in 1997 due to severe tendinitis in his arms that prevented him from playing at the required and desired speed. However, he continued writing lyrics and occasionally served as the band’s manager since then, although he was still considered a member. But in 2015, after ABBATH’s departure, he returned as the guitarist and now the vocalist of the group, and in “War Against All,” he has composed everything.
As for the guest and session musicians, we find ICE DALE (whose original name is Arve Isdal), a Norwegian guitarist and producer who was part of MALIGNANT ETERNAL in the early 2000s and currently plays in the bands ENSLAVED and AUDREY HORNE. There’s also Kevin Kvåle on bass, under the pseudonym SPEKTRE, and on drums, both of Norwegian origin, who participates in the band GAAHLS WYRD.
This production is backed by NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS and was produced at Earshot & Conclave studios, located in the Norwegian city of Bergen. The album was mastered at Solslottet, in the same location, where bands like ENSLAVED, BYFROST, and DROTT have also crafted albums, all in the key and tune of Black Metal.
The band has gone through a difficult and costly period since the departure of its members ABBATH and APOLLYON in 2015, and later HORGH seven years later. Leaving only Mr. DEMONAZ, who is one of the founding pillars of the band. However, they are not missed much in this new production, as there was no external influence. The new musicians in the lineup refrained from transforming the band’s sound and made the right decision. The massive and overwhelming chord progressions avoid monotony and make the listening experience interesting and appealing.
Get ready for a chilling and immersive auditory experience. The album captures the essence of what IMMORTAL is, with its raw aggression and unsettling melodies.
The album begins with “War Against All” (https://youtu.be/x6o28z_A818), where we collide with a wall of intense and irresistible sounds. All instrumental sections sound resolute and categorical, emanating a unique force that characterizes IMMORTAL. It is a true example of pure Black Metal.
In “Thunders Of Darkness,” the band continues with crushing riffs at a cruising speed. Although the genre is often difficult to classify, IMMORTAL shows that variety is also possible by adding details in the melody that showcase conclusive rhythms. It’s a track that demonstrates their ability to innovate within the genre.
“Wargod” (https://youtu.be/_Aup_DVzkrY) is a clear example of why IMMORTAL is considered an institution in Extreme Metal. They convey seriousness and decorum in moments of harmony, while the relentless vocals and string solos add strength to the orchestration. You can even appreciate subtle and delightful synthesizer sounds.
In “No Sun,” the nerve and bursts of energy become evident. The chords played on the double bass drum set the rhythm for the instruments, while the abominable lyrics describe the consequences of lacking the illumination of the Sun. It’s a track that highlights IMMORTAL’s inherent character.
With “Return To Cold,” reference is made to icy scenarios, both in the cover and in the song’s passages. The frostbitten distortions in the guitar play, combined with the pauses marked by percussion, create an exquisite atmosphere. It’s another one of my favorite tracks, with the characteristic coldness and mortification that only the Norwegians can offer.
In “Nordlandihr,” we enjoy realistic and raw arpeggios on Mr. DEMONAZ’s guitar, serving as an introduction to the power unleashed by the harmonics in this instrumental piece. The deep sounds contained in the succession of tones are admirable, showcasing the opulence that Extreme Metal can achieve. Although it lasts almost seven minutes, it can be listened to without getting bored.
“Immortal” is not only the title of a song but also summarizes the very essence of the band: pedigree and unique lineage Black Metal. Polyphony defines both IMMORTAL and the genre itself. Their creative system, forged in the old school, maintains a constant combination of string speeds and drum powers, unified in the threatening and chilling voice of their sole member, the true owner and soul of IMMORTAL.
“Blashyrkh My Throne” reminds us to some extent of their 1995 album “Battles In The North.” With a simple but soothing rhythm, the song justifies its straightforward lyrics by detailing the environment of the all-powerful character Blashyrkh, a fictional deity created by the band members and located in a mythical kingdom atop a mountain. It’s a finale that demonstrates the power and mythic quality that these experts in Black Metal achieve with each new album.
The representation and impression left by “War Against All” is that of delving into the most unfathomable, numbed, cooled, and gloomy aspects of the musical darkness that IMMORTAL offers us. It allows us to wave with affability in that frozen panorama, safeguarding it for those who wish to perceive and appreciate that this is Extreme Metal full of character and pedigree. Very few bands reach the same level of veneration and contemplation that they have achieved over their three decades of existence.
The characteristic sound found in “War Against All” possesses a brutal and relentless nature that is ever-present throughout IMMORTAL’s entire album. Although there are some notable moments where the one-man band now allows itself to explore new sonic territories. The overall pace of the eight songs is relentless and rarely stops in its sonic annihilation. However, there are some moments of respite that provide a necessary contrast. It is clear that Mr. DEMONAZ has accepted the challenge, demonstrating that the legacy of IMMORTAL is in good hands and a promising future is on the horizon. This furious statement confirms that classic Black Metal is alive and kicking.